Roasted Cauliflower “Pizza” with Spinach, Feta & Parmesan

2 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

Image

First of all – I saw this article about ten vegetables & herbs you can buy once & regrow yourself.  HERE it is.  Well – I found myself with scallions the other day & decided to try it out.  These pictures were taken on January 28 after about two days in the water.

Image

Image

I was so excited – I decided to try it with a browning romaine stump.

Image

That is about two day’s growth.  Here they are now.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Isn’t that awesome?  I guess I need to pot them in soil soon but I am very fucking excited about this shit.

Another thing I am excited about is my book!  www.bathingbook.com

Here is my friend Baxter – about to crack open his copy!

Image

If a little rescue mutt can get it together to buy & read my book, what excuse do you have?  It’s REALLY FUCKING FUNNY – I promise.  Literally laugh out loud funny.  Trust.

Image

Image

OK – so now on to my faux pizza.  I was too lazy to make cauliflower crust so I just used the cauliflower plain.  I don’t really know what else to call this but pizza.  It was light & delicious & really easy.  Try it!

Oh – and I used this basil oil I got at TJ Maxx.  TJ Maxx is great for discounted fancy food items.

Image

Image

Image

Roasted Cauliflower “Pizza” with Spinach & Parmesan

INGREDIENTS

Slices of raw cauliflower

Spinach

Feta cheese

Parmesan

Garlic

Olive oil

S&P

Crushed red pepper (optional)

Image

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450.   Grease a cooking sheet with cooking spray or use parchment paper.  I ADORE parchment paper!  Nothing sticks & clean up is easier.

Drizzle olive oil on some sliced cauliflower arranged as you want on the cooking sheet.  Add some S&P.  Cook for about 20 minutes.

Image

Meanwhile, mix up some spinach with Parmesan & crushed garlic & some S&P.  When the cauliflower is tender & browning, take it out & top it with the spinach mix.  Crumble some feta on there.

Image

Image

Image

Cook another 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted & browning.

Top with more feta or Parmesan & lots & lots of crushed red pepper.  Maybe drizzle a bit of nice olive oil on there?  Voila!

Image

Image

Image

Guiltless Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – Faux-fredo! (Vegan & Gluten-free)

Leave a comment

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

vromans front

vromans back

~

Image

OK – this is EEEEEASY to make & can be vegan or not.  I added some shaved Parmesan as garnish – mainly to make it pretty to look at.  I also added a tiny bit to the sauce but it is completely unnecessary so – you can either skip it or use a vegan cheese.  I chose not to add any other dairy (real or vegan) to the sauce but it would likely have delivered an even creamier result.  This is plenty creamy & plenty flavorful – so I did not see the point in adding calories.

I also made it with a gluten-free quinoa pasta.  Regular pasta, especially a fettuccine, would be delightful, too.

1-23-14 (37)

Guiltless Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – Faux-fredo!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – gluten-free or otherwise

1/2 head cauliflower – cut up into flats or florets

4 garlic cloves (or to taste) – chopped

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Olive oil

About 1/2 cup of vegetable stock

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan or vegan alternative (optional)

S&P to taste

1-23-14 (29)

1-23-14 (54)

DIRECTIONS

Heat a TBS or two of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the garlic & saute for 30 seconds.  Be careful not to burn or brown the garlic.  Add the stock & the cut up cauliflower.  The stock will not cover the cauliflower.  Bring it to a boil & then reduce heat.   Simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender.

1-23-14 (19)

1-23-14 (16)

Put the cauliflower & stock in a food processor and add the Dijon & cheese (if you are using cheese).  Blend until very smooth.  You might want to add more stock or water to thin it a bit.  Add S&P to taste.  I added lots & lots of pepper.  You can add heavy cream or a vegan alternative for an even creamier result.  Return this puree to the saute pan & simmer on low while you cook your pasta.

Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce & go to town!  Add more freshly ground pepper or some grated Parmesan if you want.  Mmmmm!

1-23-14 (51)

1-23-14 (74)

Vegan Marinated Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich

Leave a comment

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

12-17-13 (87)

This fucker was awesome!  There are a few steps to assemble the ingredients but they are all easy.  You can make this with any sort of chicken substitute you might like.  I am obsessed with Beyond Meat strips.  They do not have an overpowering taste & can easily be manipulated & I like the texture, too.

Beyond-Meat1

Beyond101

 

Traditionally, banh mi have pork in them but I haven’t found a decent fake pork – unless you believe that pork is “the new white meat.”  If so – this fake chicken could masquerade as fake pork, too.

This takes a few hours of planning ahead so that you can marinate the chicken & pickle the carrots & jalapeno (and daikon – if you have it.  I did not).

If you cannot find vegan fish sauce – there are lots of pretty simple recipes for vegan fish sauce HERE.  Whatever you do, do not skip the marinade because it tastes great & the sriracha mayo is good enough to eat with a spoon.

Image

Image

Marinated Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich

Makes two sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

2 crusty rolls or some high quality baguette

8 oz faux chicken

1 avocado – cut into slices

1/2 cucumber – sliced thin

leafy lettuce

2 radishes – sliced thin

1 jalapeno – seeded & sliced thin

cilantro

Olive oil or cooking spray

For the pickled vegetables

1 carrot – cut into matchsticks

daikon – cut into matchsticks

1 jalapeno – seeded & cut into matchsticks

3 cups warm water

3 TBS sugar

2 TBS salt

4 TBS white or rice vinegar

For the marinade

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

6 garlic cloves (or to taste) – minced

4 shallots (or 1/2 small onion) – diced

2 TBS fish sauce (vegan version – or omit it)

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp Chinese five spice

1 TBS hoisin sauce

1 tsp sriracha (or to taste)

For the spicy mayo

1/4 cup vegan mayo

1 lime

3 TBS sriracha

Image

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350.

For the pickled vegetables

Warm the water & add the sugar, salt & vinegar & stir until the sugar & salt dissolve.  Put the matchstick veggies in a bowl or jar & cover with the warm water mix.  Store in the fridge for at least and hour or two.

12-17-13 (40)

Image

For the marinade

Blend all the marinade ingredients & add the chicken to it.  Store in the fridge for at least an hour.

Image

For the spicy mayo

Blend the mayo with the sriracha & the juice of the lime.  Store in the fridge.

Image

Image

For the Banh Mi

Prepare the cucumber, avocado, radishes & jalapeno.  Set aside.

Heat a frying or grill pan.  Treat it with cooking spray or olive oil & cook up the marinated chicken.  Set aside.

Image

Scoop the soft part of the bread out & throw it away.  Heat the bread in the warm oven for 5 minutes.

To assemble – simply spread some spicy mayo on the bread.  Then layer on some chicken.  Then pickled veggies (drained well!) & radish slices.  Add sliced cucumber & jalapeno.  Add lettuce & cilantro.  Add some avocado.  Smash it together.  Shove it in your face – and feel free to dip it in the extra spicy mayo.

See?  What’d I tell you?

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Spicy Vegan Chinese Green Pepper Beef

5 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

Image

Another easy gem made from Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips.  Of course – real beef could be used.  Green pepper beef is my bad-ass boyfriend Miles’ favorite Chinese dish so I expect I will post an actual meat version of this some time down the line.

11-25-13 (38)

Easy as can be & rather delicious.  Mine was a bit on the salty side so be sure to use the low sodium soy sauce.  I added dark soy sauce but if you cannot find this – omit it.  I used a vegetarian oyster sauce.  As with the dark soy – if you cannot find it – omit it.

I bought white rice from a local Thai joynt – hence the take-out container.

Image

Image

Image

Spicy Vegan Chinese Green Pepper Beef

Serves two pretty easily

INGREDIENTS

8 oz Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or other vegan meat) – or real beef

1/2 onion – sliced thin

1 1/2 bell peppers – colors of your choice – sliced thin

olive oil

cornstarch

1 cup water

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 TBS dark soy sauce (optional)

1 tsp black pepper

1 TBS crushed red pepper (or to taste)

1 TBS ginger – minced

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS rice wine vinegar

1 TBS vegetarian oyster sauce (optional)

Cooked rice of your choice

Image

DIRECTIONS

Toss the meat in a few TBS of cornstarch to coat it.

Image

Heat a TBS or 2 of olive oil in a saute pan over high heat.  Sear the meat & the crushed red pepper until it browns a bit on all sides.  Set it aside in a bowl.

Image

Add another TBS of olive oil to the pan & cook the onions & peppers over medium heat until soft.  Put them in the bowl with the meat.

Add another TBS of olive oil to the pan & add the garlic & ginger.  After one minute add the soy sauces, water, black pepper, brown sugar, rice vinegar & oyster sauce.  Bring to a boil & let it thicken just a bit.  Add the meat & peppers & stir to blend.  Cook it down until the sauce is as thick as you want it & serve over rice.  YUM!

ImageImageImage

Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice”

2 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

Image

OK – before I get into this very easy recipe for Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice” – let me begin my effort to prep the world for the upcoming release of my first novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.

Image

Is was inspired by my short film of the same name.  The trailer for that film can be seen HERE.  I will be releasing it as an E-book only (for now) and I hope to have it up for sale before Christmas.  It is a comic Hollywood mockumemoir about fading fame, excessive drinking, awkward sex and the horrors of dating (and bathing with) younger men.  I hope you will read it when it comes out!

Here is a quote from the book’s heroine:

“See?  I can be selfless.  As long as there is something in it for me.” – Ruby Fitzgerald

11-19-13 (65)

OK, that said – let’s move onto this delightful recipe!  It is very easy & very customizable.  I used the vegetables I used here because I had them on hand.  You could sub out things you don’t like or do not have & use things like carrots or sweet potatoes or green beans or cauliflower.  Whatever.  You could also use real beef.  I made a special effort to only use really mainstream ingredients & skipped the typical Indian spices like garam masala and curry leaves – because I wanted everyone to be able to make this – even those without access to the more exotic ingredients.  Do not be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list.  If you have a spice rack, you probably already have at least half of the stuff listed.

I served this with the gluten-free (guilt free, too!) cauliflower faux rice but you could use any rice you like – especially the wonderfully aromatic & traditional basmati rice.   Because this is really just an Indian beef stew, it would also go nicely over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

The rice I made here used a bit of this stuff –

Image

which I buy at Super King for about $7.  You can buy it online.  You could use this or saffron threads threads or just a bit of turmeric to add color.

I also used coconut oil –

ImageImage

and Trader Joe’s Beef-less strips.  If these are not available to you, use olive oil & and brand of faux beef you can find – or even a tofu or tempeh variety.  I used these little potatoes – but any potato will do.

Image

I used a butternut squash (half of one) and a red onion.  Sweet potato or brown onions all you have?  Use those!

Image

Image

Image

Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry with Gluten-Free Cauliflower “Rice”

serves 4-6 easily

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower “rice”

1/2 large head cauliflower

1/2 onion – diced

1 TBS saffron liquid (or a few saffron threads steeped in 1/4 cup hot water for a few minutes) – or 1-2 tsp turmeric (for color)

2 TBS olive oil

Salt to taste

For the Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry

Coconut oil (or olive oil)

2 (8 oz) packages of Trader Joe’s Beef-less Strips (or similar quantity of other vegan meat – or real beef)

Cornstarch

1/2 lb potatoes – cubed

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1 onion – diced

1/2 butternut squash – peeled & cubed (or a few sweet potatoes or carrots)

1 cup peas

Coconut oil (or olive oil)

2 TBS Madras Curry

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 TBS crushed red pepper (or to taste)

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt (or more – to taste)

1 TBS ginger – minced

8 garlic cloves – chopped

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

Paprika – as garnish

Fresh cilantro as garnish

ImageImage

Image

DIRECTIONS

For the Vegan Beef, Potato & Squash Curry

Toss the meat with a TBS or two of cornstarch until it is coated.

Heat 2-3 TBS coconut oil (or olive oil) in a large saute pan on high heat.  Sear the meat on all sides.  Set aside.

ImageImageImage

Add another few TBS of oil to the pan & add the onion & jalapenos.  Saute over med–high for a few minutes or until soft.  Add the curry, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, salt, sugar, crushed red pepper, ginger & garlic and stir for about a minute.

ImageImage

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar & water & stir to blend.  Add the meat, potato & squash.

ImageImage

Bring this to a boil & reduce to a simmer & let cook while you make the rice.

For the cauliflower “rice”

Using the grater blade of a food processor or just a regular grater – shred the cauliflower into a rice-like texture.

Image

Image

Heat a few TBS of oil in a large saute pan & saute the onion until soft.

Add the cauliflower.  Add the saffron liquid or saffron threads & their steeping water or the turmeric and the salt.  Saute over med-high heat until tender – maybe 5-10 minutes.

Add the peas to the simmering beef curry & heat through.

Once the potato & squash are tender – serve your curry with the cauliflower rice & garnish them with the paprika & cilantro.  Eat way more than is decent or civilized because – what the fuck?  Why not?  This shit is vegan & gluten-free!  It is like eating air.  Really tasty air!

ImageImageImageImage

Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

Leave a comment

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

Image

Wow.  Last night I was just not myself.  I blame the overpowering stench of the decomposing rat in my walls somewhere – somewhere near my kitchen.  I am not sure how many of you have had this experience but it is wildly unpleasant & sometimes can linger for a week or more.  Once that smell is in your olfactory memory bank, you never forget it.  In fact, if you are in the early days of said decomposition – you feel like that smell is on your upper lip & you start smelling it everywhere.  I got in my car yesterday & swore I smelled it.  I took my car to to the car wash as a concession to my paranoia.  They found no dead rats.  I swore I smelled it as I strolled the aisles at my glorious Super King.  I wondered how super markets are NOT overrun with rats.  All that food & produce.  How are rats not all over it at night?  Why do I have to store my flour etc in my fridge & freezer to avoid those little bugs that get in them – but stores can have stuff on the shelves forever & nothing invades?  I’m not a dirty girl.  My house isn’t dirty.  Anyway – I digress.

I decided that, rather than concede defeat & eat out last night, I would cook a lot of aromatic foods & try to combat the vile stench that way.  And I am happy to say, I was largely successful.  Today, I baked some sweet potatoes & now I smell autumn & holidays more than – you know what.

So – I made this galette last night.  It is basically an open-faced pie without the benefit of a pie plate to shape it.  They can be made sweet or savory.  This one is, obviously, savory.  I used a mix of crimini, portobello & oyster.  You can use any mix you like or use all white mushrooms.  It doesn’t matter.  I used blue cheese.  You can use goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola – your call.  I made the crust from scratch.  You can use a pre-made crust – or even a filo pastry.  Don’t get intimidated.  Just do whatever works for you.

I also made a faux bacon from eggplant slices.  It doesn’t taste like bacon AT ALL but it is smoky and oddly satisfying.  And the eggplant I used looked like a gorgeous leopard.  Not sure why.  I ate a bunch just standing there at the stove – trying to fill my head with other sensory experiences than dead rat.  Then – perhaps all doped up on the toxic fumes that had filled my house all day –  I FORGOT to use it in the galette recipe!  So – I just took bites of it as I ate my slice of galette & it was very yummy.  So – I will include the faux bacon as a potential ingredient but it certainly is not necessary.  If you are a whore for real bacon – feel free to fry some up & crumble it into the mushrooms when they are done.

Finally – I want to note that photographing cooked mushrooms is a tricky business.  They tend to get very dark & photograph as inky muck – so – be kind.

10-23-13 (90)

Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese Galette in Sour Cream Pastry with Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon (Vegetarian)

INGREDIENTS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1/4 pound) of butter – cut into small cubes & then FROZEN

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 ice water

For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

Between 1-1.5 lbs mixed mushrooms (I used crimini, portobello & oyster) – sliced thin or coarsely chopped

4 TBS butter

4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – sliced (white and green parts)

1/2 cup sherry (or dry white wine)

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

4 ounces blue cheese (or goat cheese or feta or gorgonzola or other) – crumbled

S&P

For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

1/2 large eggplant – sliced 1/8 thick

2 TBS soy sauce

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

10-23-13 (134)

DIRECTIONS

For the Sour Cream Pastry Crust

Combine salt & flour in a bowl (I did all this in my food processor but it can be done in a bowl, too).  Add the butter & mix or pulse until just combined & it resembles a coarse meal.

Whisk the sour cream, ice water & lemon juice together.

With a wooden spoon (or pulsing in the food processor), slowly add the sour cream mixture until you get large lumps.  Collect into a large ball of dough & wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour.

10-23-13 (49)

For the Mixed Mushroom & Blue Cheese filling

In a large saute pan, melt 2 TBS of the butter (half the butter) over high heat.  Add the mushrooms and a scant pinch of salt & fry them over high heat until they release their liquid & then most of it has evaporated off.  Add the garlic & scallions & saute until the mushrooms begin to brown & sear a bit.  Add the sherry & cook it off then lower the heat to medium.  Add the second 2 TBS butter & the herbs & saute until well combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat & allow to cool.

Crumble the cheese & set aside.

Parsley – chopped – as garnish

10-23-13 (30)

For the Smoky Eggplant Faux Bacon

Heat the oven to 425 & prepare a cooking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the eggplant in a single layer & bake 8 minutes on one side & flip & cook another 3-5 – until it begins to brown.  You might need to do this in several shifts to cook all your eggplant.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool a bit.  Lower the oven temperature to 350.

Mix the soy sauce & liquid smoke in a bowl.  Dunk each slice of cooked eggplant in the liquid & put back on the cooking sheet.  Cook another 3-5 minutes.

Eat it like it is – or layer it into your galette.

10-23-13 (126) 10-23a-13 (1)

To assemble the galette

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a floured surface – roll your sour cream pastry out to about a 12 inch circle.

Place the crust on a cooking sheet treated with cooking spray or topped with parchment paper or foil treated with cooking spray.

If you are using the faux bacon – layer it on the crust leaving 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later).

10-23-13 (52) 10-23-13 (53)

Drop 2/3 of the cheese onto the crust leaving that 1.5 inch border (to be folded over later). Top with the mushroom mixture (leaving that border) & then fold the edges over the top – pleating if you can – leaving the center uncovered.

10-23-13 (130)

Bake for 30 minutes or so & then top with the remaining cheese crumbles.  Bake another 5-10 minutes or until your crust is golden.

Remove from the oven & allow it to rest 5 minutes or so before cutting into it.

Garnish with chopped parsley & indulge!!!

10-23-13 (137)

Vegetarian Cannellini & Garbanzo Bean Faux Meatballs and Gluten Free Spaghetti

4 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

~

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

Image

 

vromans front

vromans back

Sometimes you just want simple comfort food.  For vegans & vegetarians – this used to be very challenging because so many of those meals are meat and/or dairy-based.  If you add gluten intolerance – things got pretty hairy.  Back in the day, anyway.

But, nowadays, there are vegetarian meats and vegan cheeses & gluten-free pastas & just about any dietary need can be tailored to by just knowing where to shop & how to substitute.  Look at this.

ImageImageImage

Ronzoni, people!  Making gluten-free pasta.  I got it Ralph’s.  Pretty mainstream.

Recently, a reader (or non-reader, as it seems) felt the need to inform me that vegans do not eat fish – because I used the word vegan in the heading of my Easiest Spicy Thai Coconut Salmon Soup for the Slow Cooker.

Image

If they had bothered to read the post, they would have found that I suggested to my vegan readers that they sub out the salmon (and fish sauce) with extra vegetables.  Sometimes I think it is a waste of breath (or typed words) to suggest to a vegan how to modify a recipe to suit their needs as, I assume, most vegans are already pretty savvy about that.   Any mac & cheese recipe can be made vegan by just using vegan cheese.  Do I have to actually say “or vegan alternative” next to every non-vegan ingredient?  I look up traditional chicken dishes all the time – even though I do not eat chicken – and sub out the chicken with a seafood option or, in many cases, cauliflower (the most adaptable & wonderful veggie!).  I don’t get all hinky if I see chicken in the recipe.  I don’t EAT chicken but I am still allowed to acknowledge the word exists.   Still, I find that putting the words vegetarian or vegan or no carb or gluten-free in the heading of a post can often drive lots of traffic to it.  Why?  Because people are actively hunting for these things.  I’d hate for a vegan to miss my meatball recipe here just because it includes an egg.  I would assume that most vegans have met this hurdle before & have found a way around it – like these products HERE, for example.  Still – it seems lots of folks expressly use keywords like “vegan” in their searches and I’d like to show them some of my ideas – so I often add a parenthetical (vegan) to a heading.  And just so nobody thinks I am picking on vegans – conversely, do I really need to explain that my Chicago-style Veggie Hot Dog on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla 

Image

could be made with BEEF hot dogs & traditional buns?  Well – criminy!  I hope not – but I bet the words “carnivore’s dream” would bring new eyes to that recipe.

“Hey, Christine.  Vegans don’t eat fish.”

411.  Let me make a note.

Moving on.

I wanted spaghetti & meatballs.  I made it.  With fake spaghetti & fake meatballs.  But – never fear meat eaters.  REAL meatballs could be used, too.

“Hey, Christine.  Cranky much?”

🙂

I would like to mention that the gluten-free pasta tasted pretty much like white pasta, especially with the sauce on it but the texture was just a bit more brittle.  I’d compare it to day old pasta that you re-heated.  It doesn’t twirl around your fork very easily (who cares?) and I’m not sure a true al dente can be achieved but if you are a gluten-intolerant carb whore – I don’t think these are major drawbacks.  I recommend this as a very reasonable alternative to wheat pasta.

The meatballs will never fool a carnivore that they are eating Bessie but, for a 25 year-long vegetarian – they do the trick pretty nicely.  But, I don’t think I need to tell anybody who has been vegetarian for very long that there are very few truly convincing meat substitutes.  Still – nobody mistakes diet soda for real soda but that hasn’t hurt Diet Coke much.  You just adapt.  Adapt your expectations.  And broaden your palate.  Use your imagination.

Vegan & the recipe calls for an egg?  Google it.  Here are the suggestions that PETA makes:

There are plenty of egg substitutes available for baking or preparing a dish that calls for eggs. Ener-G Egg Replacer is a reliable egg substitute for use in baking. It is available at health food stores and most grocery stores.

Tofu: Tofu is great for egg substitutions in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like quiches or custards. To replace one egg in a recipe, purée 1/4 cup soft tofu. It is important to keep in mind that although tofu doesn’t fluff up like eggs, it does create a texture that is perfect for “eggy” dishes.

Tofu is also a great substitute for eggs in eggless egg salad and breakfast scrambles.

In Desserts and Sweet, Baked Goods: Try substituting one banana or 1/4 cup applesauce for each egg called for in a recipe for sweet, baked desserts. These will add some flavor to the recipe, so make sure bananas or apples are compatible with the other flavors in the dessert.

Other Egg Replacement Options

• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. potato starch
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed potatoes
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or squash
• 1 egg = 1/4 cup puréed prunes
• 1 egg = 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 egg = 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed simmered in 3 Tbsp. water
• 1 egg white = 1 Tbsp. plain agar powder dissolved in 1 Tbsp. water, whipped, chilled, and whipped again

Egg Replacement Tips

• If a recipe calls for three or more eggs, it is important to choose a replacer that will perform the same function (i.e., binding or leavening).

• Trying to replicate airy baked goods that call for a lot of eggs, such as angel food cake, can be very difficult. Instead, look for a recipe with a similar taste but fewer eggs, which will be easier to replicate.

• When adding tofu to a recipe as an egg replacer, be sure to purée it first to avoid chunks in the finished product.

• Be sure to use plain tofu, not seasoned or baked, as a replacer.

• Powdered egg replacers cannot be used to create egg recipes such as scrambles or omelets. Tofu is the perfect substitute for eggs in these applications.

• If you want a lighter texture and you’re using fruit purées as an egg substitute, add an extra 1/2 tsp. baking powder. Fruit purées tend to make the final product denser than the original recipe.

• If you’re looking for an egg replacer that binds, try adding 2 to 3 Tbsp. of any of the following for each egg: tomato paste, potato starch, arrowroot powder, whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, instant potato flakes, or 1/4 cup tofu puréed with 1 Tbsp. flour.

And PETA is just one resource.

Anyway – I digress.  The spaghetti used here can – wait for it…

be replaced with REGULAR pasta or whole wheat pasta or penne or farfalle.  But you knew that.  And the meatball recipe can be adapted to include whatever spices your grandma used to use or ones you see in any traditional meat ball recipe.  Being rigid & literal only works for bakers.  Most other cooking benefits from a looser interpretation & your own imagination.  Try it.  It is part of what makes cooking fun.

10-15a-13 (6)

Vegetarian Cannellini & Garbanzo Bean Faux Meatballs and Gluten-Free Spaghetti 

(makes about 30 small meatballs)

INGREDIENTS

Pasta of your choice

Pasta sauce of your choice (my marinara is HERE & my 5-minute arrabiatta is HERE)

1 (15 ounce) can of cannellini beans

1 (15 ounce) can of garbanzo beans

1 onion – quartered

3 jalapenos – seeded (optional)

8 ounces mushrooms

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup parsley – chopped

1 TBS dry oregano

1 egg (or vegan substitute <wink>)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (more or less)

S&P to taste (at least 1/2 tsp each)

Garnish – grated cheese (or vegan alternative), chopped parsley and/or chopped basil

10-15a-13 (11)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350.  Grease a cooking sheet (cooking spray or olive oil).

Drain & rinse the two cans of beans.  Pulse in a food processor until mostly broken up.  Do not puree them.  Put them in a large mixing bowl & set aside.

Pulse the onion, jalapenos & garlic until chopped pretty fine.  Add to beans.

Pulse the mushrooms until chopped pretty fine.  Add to beans.

Add parsley, oregano, egg and breadcrumbs & mix it all up.  If it is too wet, add more breadcrumbs.  Add S&P.

10-15-13 (9)

Create little meatballs (a bit smaller than a golf ball) in your palms & place on the cooking sheet.  I think I got about 32 meatballs this size.

10-15-13 (13)

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes & then carefully turn them & cook another 15-20 minutes.

10-15-13 (20)

10-15-13 (47)

Heat your sauce.  Maybe heat some faux meatballs in there but be careful they do not fall apart.  Make your pasta.  Assemble.  Garnish.  Pour wine.  Devour food.  Scream out “VEGANS DO NOT EAT FISH!”  Feel self-righteous.

10-15a-13 (8)